To consider the report of the Llŷn AONB Service Manager.
A report was submitted by the Llŷn AONB Service Manager which noted the background and planning history of the Plas Pistyll and Pistyll Farm site, Pistyll. It was noted that the item was on the meeting's agenda at the request of the Chair following the receipt of a request from a member.
A member noted that the matter would receive consideration at the meeting of the Communities Scrutiny Committee on 13 December 2018. He highlighted his concern that the developments originally permitted on the site by the Planning Committee in 2012 had been changed by means of a number of planning permissions under officers' delegated rights, changing them to holiday home developments with substantial changes to the original plan. He explained that assessments in terms of the landscape and visual impact of the developments had been submitted by the applicant as part of the application in 2012 and that what had been approved by officers using their delegated rights disregarded what had been noted in the assessments. He noted that eco developments that were in keeping with the landscape had been approved by the Planning Committee. He noted that there was a duty to protect the AONB. He explained that he had made a request through the Planning Committee Chair to seek the opinion of a barrister on the matter as it was a complex matter.
During the subsequent discussion, the following main points were noted by members:
· Pistyll Community Council had made a request to the Council's Chief Executive to seek the opinion of a barrister on the matter. Acknowledgement of the request had been received but no response had been received as yet;
· A lack of consultation on the planning applications had perhaps led to the local member at the time failing to give attention to the planning applications;
· There was a duty on the Joint Committee to look into the matter and a report was required to ensure that lessons had been learnt and that such a situation would never happen again;
· Council members should challenge the officers, the planning applications should have been submitted for a decision by the Planning Committee. Frustration that the observations of the AONB Unit and Joint Committee members did not receive sufficient attention;
· It was important that the public knew the facts;
· Pistyll Community Council had supported the original application in 2012 but developments on the site had intensified without the Community Council being aware of the applications;
· The local member could refer a planning application to the Planning Committee for a decision but perhaps they did not have the capacity to do so;
· The usual procedure of placing a planning application advertisement near the application site was insufficient and that such problems arose as a result;
· The situation brought the AONB into disrepute and that action was required in order to prevent this from happening again.
A member enquired if it would be possible to use the Joint Committee or the AONB Service’s resources to obtain the opinion of a barrister on the matter. In response, the Llŷn AONB Service Manager noted that the Joint Committee did not have resources and that the resources of the AONB Service had been earmarked in a work programme that had been agreed with Natural Resources Wales.
It was proposed and seconded to send a letter from the Chair on behalf of the Joint Committee to the Council's Chief Executive seeking a barrister's opinion on the matter. A discussion was held on the wording of the letter.
RESOLVED that the Chair sends a letter to the Council's Chief Executive on behalf of the Llŷn AONB Joint Advisory Committee:
(i) To declare disappointment in terms of the situation regarding developments at Plas Pistyll and Pistyll Farm.
(ii) That the Joint Committee requests the Council to obtain legal opinion from an independent barrister, who is an expert in the field, on this specific case.